Pan-European Picnic

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic, an event more of us should remember:

Twenty years ago Wednesday, members of Hungary’s budding opposition organized a picnic at the border with Austria to press for greater political freedom and promote friendship with their Western neighbors.

Some 600 East Germans got word of the event and turned up among the estimated 10,000 participants. They had a plan: to take advantage of an excursion across the border to escape to Austria. …

One of the key factors allowing the Germans to escape: the decision by a Hungarian border guard commander not to stop them as they pushed through to freedom.

“It was an incredible experience for them,” said the guard, Lt. Col. Arpad Bella, remembering the scene as the East Germans marched up the road to the border gates at Sopronpuszta and crossed into Austria.

“They embraced, they kissed, they cried and laughed in their joy. Some sat down right across the border, others had to be stopped by the Austrian guards because they kept running and didn’t believe they were in Austria,” said Bella, 63, during an interview where the gates once stood. …

Laszlo Nagy, one of the organizers of the picnic, said he was startled by the East Germans’ actions, who left behind hundreds of cars and other possessions near the border for the chance to make the short walk to a new life in the West.

“Some of them were waiting for this moment for 20 or 30 years,” Nagy said. “They left behind everything – because freedom has the greatest value.”

Where are we going to escape to when liberals have expanded government to the point that America has become East Germany?

On a tip from Ellen N. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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